Dr. Randi Walker, Ronald Soucey Professor of Transcendental Christianity, Professor of Church History, and Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, is retiring in June after 25 Years at Pacific School of Religion.
PSR’s Office of Academic Affairs invites you to an online Zoom meeting to participate in celebrating Dr. Randi Walker’s teaching, leadership, scholarship at PSR and her retirement at the end of this semester, Monday April 30, 2018 from 3:30pm-5pm.
When: Apr 30, 2018, 3:15 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Professor Walker is the author of The Evolution of a UCC Style: History, Ecclesiology, and Culture of the United Church of Christ, among numerous other books and articles. Below is an interview with Dr. Walker from the most recent edition of Catalyst, PSR’s magazine.
What does Sacred Resistance mean to you? How have you helped prepare future religious leaders for a call to “resist sacredly?”
I’ve spent my whole career resisting certain narratives in the history of Christianity. Part of that comes from being a woman and thinking it was important to say a lot about women in the history of Christianity. Women represent more than half the Christians of the world, but most of the narratives about Christianity are the narratives of men.
I’ve also worked at resisting framing the history of Christianity as a Euro-American narrative. When I arrived at PSR, Lenny Kwok, a student at the time, asked me where his Chinese folks fit into the narrative. Over the past 25 years I have kept re-writing the narrative as I learn more. Hopefully, when students finish my class they know the ways that people who have never been exposed to Westerners become interested in Christianity.
What significant changes have occurred in progressive Christianity since you began teaching and how has it influenced your teaching approach?
In the United Church of Christ, for example, the disintegration of the national denominational bureaucracy has accelerated as confidence has waned. The weakening of the national setting of the church, with movement toward more localized bodies, will require people to reconsider a lot of complicated identity and mission issues with fewer common resources. This results in changes in teaching denominational polity and history which is being done more and more outside of the UCC seminaries by more local bodies (Associations and Conferences).
I always encourage students to think about the history of their own congregations and have tried to help PSR students understand the UCC in the Western Region and how it differs from UCC in the Midwest and East or South.
What legacy do you hope to leave to PSR?
I hope the Doctor of Ministry program remains as a significant tool, not just for clergy continuing education, but for building capacity for theological education and for clergy development in parts of the country and world where a traditional seminary is not feasible. I expect all of our Doctors of Ministry to give away everything they know. I hope PSR continues to foster a vision of Christianity significantly shaped by insights from Asia and the Pacific (including the west coast of Latin America) and not just Europe and the Atlantic.